Ray Hill, the TransAdvocate and Feminism

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Ray

Last night I attended a roast of my friend, Ray Hill. If you’re queer — and especially if you’re a queer Southerner — and you don’t know who Ray Hill is, then you don’t know the first thing about Southern queers. Ray Hill is an iconic living legend of queer rights. Here are some of his achievements:

  • Cofounder and President of Promethean Society (Houston’s first gay/lesbian organization (1967-1969)
  • Cofounder (1968), former Board Member and former General Manager (198o~1981) of Pacifica Radio, KPFT-FM (where I first found other local trans people in the 1990s)
  • Cofounder, Executive Director Houston Human Rights League (1976-1986)
  • Cofounder (1975), Past President (1989) of Houston Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Political Caucus
  • Winner of landmark First Amendment US Supreme Court Case Houston v Hill lob S.Ct 2502, 1987)
  • Cofounder/organizer (1976), Past Chair (1984-1985) of Houston Lesbian Gay Pride Week
  • Cofounder Kaposi’s Sarcoma Foundation (198o, became KS/AIDS Foundation, is now AIDS Foundation Houston)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, the trans Unity Committee
  • Chair of Executive and Coordination Committees for the First March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1979
  • Author of first “Safe Sex Pamphlet” in the country to help prevent the spread of HIV, published by Citizens for Human Equality CHE
  • Contributor to the first three International Conferences on Gender Law and Employment
  • Author of Model Transgender Policy for Jails and Prisons
  • Founder/producer/host of the Prison Show (the only show of its kind in the US) 198o to 2012
  • Convict (197o-1975) Texas Prison System

 

Ray is equal parts Mark Twain, Harvey Milk and Utah Phillips. Here are some photos from last night’s roast:

L to R: Jack Valinski, CW Sheila Jackson Lee and Ray Hill
1. Ray Hill & Mayor Annise Parker; 2. Judge Phyllis Frye; 3. Monica Roberts, Parker, Frye; 4. Frye, Parker; 5. Me, Roberts, Daniel Williams; 6. Me, Parker

Feminism

I was asked to present at the University of Michigan’s New Articulations Feminist Conference. Here are a few slides from my presentation:

The conference was really interesting and I met numerous feminists from all over the nation and made some new contacts at the Feminist Times and Crunk Feminist Collective.

During the last several months I’ve made some amazing connections with several iconic Radical Feminist thinkers and it’s absolutely changed the way I’ve historically viewed Radical Feminism — which I’m really, really grateful for!

TransAdvocate

I have a couple of stories that are about to come out. There’s a really frank interview with [K], an intersex sex worker. They’re really honest about what it’s like and I really appreciated their views about the services that sex workers need.

I also have an upcoming interview with RadFem icon, Catharine MacKinnon that I’m really excited about. It will be interesting to see how some quotemine her to make it seem as if MacKinnon somehow doesn’t deride Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (whom I like to conceptualize as Sex Essentialist Feminists) ideology/morality but that she somehow really does believe that sex is a natural binary and that women’s liberation depends upon categorizing “women” in terms of a discrete biological group.

Moreover, other notable RadFems are collaborating on a significant piece that will be coming out in the coming months. It will represent a tangible and clear answer to the idea that SEFs represent their radical feminism. This should make it clear that  SEFs speak only for their own group when they pontificate about their “radical feminist,” “feminist,” or “lesbian” ideology.

Also, the TransAdvocate is contemplating starting its own press. Isn’t that cool?

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Cristan

Cristan Williams is a trans historian and activist. She started one of the first trans homeless shelters and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice site TransAdvocate.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group, is the jurisdictional representative to the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS), serves on the national steering body for UCHAPS and is the Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America.

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